100 hectares of forest and arable fire

 100 hectares of forest and arable fire

Wind farm affected by large fire

A forest is burning again – this time a wind farm was also affected. Around 700 residents are expected to prepare for an evacuation. For extinguishing, the district has requested helicopters and fire protection trains.

25.07.2022, 8.03 pm

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Forest fire (symbolic image) – currently it is burning in the Elbe-Elster district
Forest fire (symbolic image) – it is currently burning in the Elbe-Elster district, for example Photo: Patrick Pleul/ dpa

South of Rehfeld in the Elbe-Elster district, a large forest and field fire broke out – a wind farm was affected. The fire spread from 10 hectares early Monday afternoon within a very short time to around 100 hectares, as the county announced. 

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The fire had been classified as a major loss situation, so the district had taken over the operational management. According to the announcement, around 700 residents of the towns of Rehfeld, Kölsa and Kölsa-Siedlung should be prepared for evacuations, buses would be ready for this case.

The first inhabitants of adjacent villages had to leave their homes. The administrative staff of the district ordered the evacuation of Rehfeld in the early evening, affecting around 200 people. The fire continues to spread dynamically and has now moved up to 150 meters to the location Rehfeld, the district further announced.

There is a fire in the forest between wind turbines, at least one turbine is within the fire area, other wind turbines are endangered, reported the deputy forest fire protection officer Philipp Haase of the German press Agency. There is a strong smoke development, which is visible from afar, Haase described. The situation is very confusing due to the strong wind.

Currently, according to the district, various forces, such as fire protection trains, food units and helicopters are requested for support. The situation is very confusing due to strong winds, said Haase.

»This is a direct consequence of climate change«

In the USA, too, forests continue to burn – for example near Yosemite National Park in the US state of California. The flames had already destroyed almost 6800 hectares of forest, the fire brigade said. The fire is only ten percent contained and is still spreading “very quickly”.

The “Oak Fire” erupted on Friday in Mariposa County near the national park with its famous Sequoia sequoias. Ten houses have already been destroyed by the flames, five more damaged. More than 2500 firefighters are on duty in the fight against the flames.

The window of opportunity to evacuate residents is limited, fire department spokesman Jon Heggie told CNN. The speed at which the flames spread is “truly unprecedented.” The region suffers from heat and acute water shortages, dead trees and withered bushes provide food for the flames.

“This is a direct consequence of climate change,” Heggie said. “You can’t have a drought in California for ten years and expect everything to stay as it is.”

A forest fire that broke out on Sunday morning in the Czech Bohemian Switzerland National Park has now also reached Germany. From the area of the Prebischtor in the Czech Republic, the fire had spread at great speed to the Saxon Switzerland National Park, said the responsible district office Pirna. For the municipalities of Sebnitz and Bad Schandau, the district office triggered a disaster alert.

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A total of 250 firefighters and 39 vehicles were on site during the large-scale operation. Among other things, they were supported by two helicopters of the state and federal police. According to the district office, the operation was difficult because the terrain is inaccessible and strong winds blew. According to the German Weather Service, wind peaks of up to 36 kilometers per hour were expected for the night.

No one has been injured by the fire so far, but Czech Environment Minister Anna Hubackova spoke on Twitter of a “critical” situation. 46 fire brigade units were deployed in the Czech Republic on Monday.

Meanwhile, thousands of emergency workers in Slovenia were able to contain a fire that had been raging for about a week. On Monday, only 240 firefighters remained in the region to monitor the situation, the STA news agency reported. According to this information, the flames destroyed almost 4000 hectares of vegetation. Initially, no information was available about the damage to buildings in the affected villages.

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